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be seen in the orations of Nicetas the Pa
The late introduction of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is observed by the emperor Julian. He says, that “ none of “ Chrift's disciples, except John, said that “ he made the heavens and the earth, and « that not clearly and plainly +.”
S E CTION II.
Reflections on the subje&t.
pious, and so full to my purpose, and uncontradicted by any thing in antiquity, it is not possible to entertain a doubt with respect to the opinion of the christian Fathers on this subject. They must have δεικνύων της αρκος την αληθειαν ίνα συ μαθης οτι ει δε Seos mp, ama rj ap 39w705 my. In John ii. vol. 1, p. 726.
* Combefis Auctuarium, vol. 1. p. 362. + Ως δε υμεις θελετε, τον ερανον και την γην απεργάσα. μενε.. και γαρ δη ταυτα τετολμηκε τις ειπείν σερι αυτο των μαθητων, ει μη μόνο Ιωαννης, «δε αυτος σαφως, εδε τραγως. Cyr. Con. Jul. lib. 6. Juliani, Opera, vol. 2. p. 213.
thought that the doctrines of the pre-exiftence and divinity of Christ had not been preached with any effect before the writing of John's gospel ; and, consequently, that before that time the great body of christians must have been unitarians; and they are far from giving the least hint of any of them having been excommunicated on that account. On the other hand, the
apprehension was, lest those who preached doctrines so new and offensive, as those of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, should have been rejected with abhorrence,
When we consider how late the three first gospels were written, the last of them not long before that of John, which was near, if not after, the destruction of Jerusalem, and that, in the opinion of the writers above-mentioned, all this caution and reserve had been necessary, till that late period, on the part of the christian teachers; how is it possible that, in their idea, the christian church in general should have been well established in the belief of our Lord's divinity? It could only have been
zeal on the open
part L 3
apostles, and not the timid caution and management which these writers ascribe to them, that could have effectually taught a doctrine which, according to them, the people were ill prepared to receive. And the history of both Peter and Paul sufficiently prove that the influence of mere apostolical authority was not so great at that time as many perfons now take it to have been. Whatever power they had, they were not considered as lords over the faith of christians.
The christians of that age required something more than the private opinion of an apostle. They required some super-natural evidence that his doctrine was from God; and we have no account of the apostles propofing to them this additional article of faith, and alledging any such evidence for it. Chryfoftom says, “ if the Jews were “ fo much offended at having a new law
fuperadded to their former, how much “ more would they have been offended, if “ Christ had taught his own divinity.” May it not be supposed, therefore, that they would have required as particular evidence
of a divine revelation in the one case as in the other ? And what remarkably strong evidence was necessary to convince them that the obligation of their law did not extend to the Gentiles ?
Would they, then, have received what Chrysostom considered as the more offensive doctrine of the two, without any pretence to a particular revelation on the subject ? It may
be said, that all the caution of which we have been speaking was necessary with respect to the unbelieving Jews only, into whose hands these gospels, and the other writings of the New Testament, might fall. But how impossible must it have been to conceal from the unbelieving Jews the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, if it had been a favourite article with the believing Jews. If this had been the case, it could not but have been known to all the world ; and, therefore, all the offence that it could have given would have been unavoidable. So that this supposed caution of the evangelists, &c. would have come too late, and would have answered no purpose whatever.
«« with the Lord *.” “ But now, with an
open voice, he says, that he is God, and “ was always with God, laying open the “ mystery of God t."
A very particular and copious account of the pre-eminence of John, in consequence of his teaching the doctrines of the preexistence and divinity of Christ, which had been omitted by the other evangelists, may likewise be seen in the epistle of Paulinus, which I put in the notes I.
* Cæteri quippe evangeliftæ, qui temporalem Chrifti nativitatem et temporalia ejus fa&ta, quæ gesit in homine, fufficienter exponunt, et de divinitate pauca dixerunt, quafi animalia grellibilia cum domino ambulant in terra : hic autem pauca de temporalibus ejus gellis cùifferens, sed divinitalis potentiam fublimius contemplans, cum domino ad cælum volat. In John Pref. Opera, vol. 9. p. 5. 275.
+ Nunc autem aperta voce dicit cum cffc deum et fumper fuifle apud deum, facramentum patefaciens dei. Qucftiones Mixtæ, vol. 4. p. 858.
Idem ultra omnium icmpora apo Rolorum ætate produeta poftremus evangelii fcriptor fuiffe memoratur, ut Gcut de ipfo vas eleétionis ait, quafi columna firmamentum adjiceret fundamentis ecclefre, prioris evangelii fcriprores consona auctoritate confirmaris, ultimus auctor, in libri